Introduction: Hiking Staff W/inlay Worthy of a Wizard – IN 60 MIN OR LESS!

Have you ever gotten so caught up in things that you completely forgot you were missing a staff until right before the mountaintop conclave?

Have you needed something to lean on since that unfortunate encounter with the she-elf in the woods?

Do you get staff envy seeing Gandalf face down the Balrog?


There are a number of practical reasons to own a staff.

Ease of walking up or down steep grades – it’s no levitation but it does assist.

Ensuring that people stay 6 ft away from you at the grocery store.

Self defense on the trail? My wife ensures me that pointing my staff at someone and making a “BRRRRRZZZZHHHHHH!” noise is not magic, but it might distract someone enough that I can pool cue them in the face with a big stick.

These are all great reasons, SO ONWARD WE GO!

In this instructable you will learn how to create what I guarantee is the most time efficient yet “authentic” looking AND USEFUL wizards staff that I have ever made - IN 60 MIN OR LESS OR YOUR MONEY BACK!

That’s like ordering 2 back to back delivery pizzas, you know you’ve done it.


To complete your quest you will need to source the following materials:

Gnarly looking stick – I like cedar for a number of reasons, its typically got a cool grain pattern and it smells good


Phoenix gem – or other fancy looking rock/inlay


¾’’ – 1’’ Copper pipe/cap

Butcher block conditioner or bees wax

Step 1: Get the Gnarly As Gnarly As You Can

I like cedar. Partially because we have a lot of it on the “back 4” of our property (it’s a scaled down back 40) and partially because its rot resistant and tends to grow in interesting shapes.

We have been spending a considerable amount of time wandering around in our woods lately - what with the world shutting down and all - and I’ve been cleaning up the trails. I’ve come across a lot of old downed and dead cedar and grabbed this one.

Step 2: If You Don’t Have a Seax… Well… You Should

If you found something laying in the woods its probably partially rotten, even if its cedar. Its likely covered in dirt and grime. Use a crappy tool to strip this off. I used a machete I cut into a Seax shape years ago. I use it like a draw knife to scrape off the majority of the funk. Because in order to get this staff knocked out in 60 min you’re gonna want to use power tools but you don’t want to mess them up.

Step 3: It’s Time to Plug In

I used a power planer and an angle grinder with flap disk to shape the staff. It started out about 3’’ in diameter and that’s way to much to carry around unless you’re Hagrid sized.

I wanted more like 1-1.25’’ tops and I opted for a more oval cross section vs round to save a little more weight and make it more comfy in the hand.

If you don’t have a power planer, I tried a block plane first and it was pretty quick as well, or just sand the bugger down with the angle grinder.

Step 4: It’s Not As Magic Without the Gem

This part may take you some time or you may luck out. It really depends on how picky you are or what you have on hand.

We wacked about 10 quartz type rocks with a hammer to see what we could get. Do yourself a favor and wear eye protection, this is not the time to go to the ER. Better yet wear eye pro and wrap the rock in a shop towel or old sock. This keeps the shards from flying everywhere.

My 4 yr old kept asking me “Daddy, is there magic in that rock or are you still breaking things”

Surprisingly wacking rocks with a hammer is only amusing to children for a very short period of time. Luckily we got some cool stuff pretty quick.

Step 5: Don’t Let the Magic Leak Out

Carve out a hole ever so slightly larger than your inlay, but not by much.

You want the epoxy to fill entirely around the inlay to hold it in solidly and give it a seamless transition. But you don’t want so much that it oozes everywhere. If it does a little, just let it sit until its gummy (in my case about 15 min) and cut off the excess with a razor blade. The little residue remaining you can sand off after.

I highly suggest not trying to smear wet epoxy off of wood, even with a solvent soaked rag its likely to leave a lot of residue over a broad area. Also, unless you are coloring the epoxy you probably don’t want to see it. It typically yellows over time and looks funky

Step 6: Smooth It Out, Cause…splinters

Once the epoxy cures final sand the staff with a palm sander at 100 grit then 220. Final carve around your inlay to remove any excess epoxy and hand sand around that.

My older son tells me according to “Onward” sanding a magic staff is a no-no


Step 7: To Prolong Longevity

Cedar especially is prone to cracking and splintering. To mitigate this we are going to reinforce the bottom of the staff with something.

I used a small section of 1’’ copper pipe because copper is malleable enough it will take the shape of the wood… and I already had it.

I got the bottom close to a 1’’ round shape with the sander, set the staff on the copper piece and SMACKED it into my concrete slab like I was channeling Gandalf in the mines.

Bingo, step done.

Step 8: Wizen It

In the interest of speed (and using stuff I already have) I rubbed the entire thing with butcher block conditioner. It’s pretty much just mineral oil and bees wax. I didn’t bother letting it sit for long then wiped it off so I didn’t get all greasy, it left a nice patina and aged the cedar perfectly.

Step 9: Channel Your Inner Fat Thor

In the interest of this instructable I took a photo of the staff in use by myself, Eciton the Idle

In case you’re unsure, yes - I’m wearing my bathrobe.

What you cannot see is I’m also wearing PJ pants, cause we haven’t left the house in weeks and some days I’m past getting dressed.

In these surreal times I offer the following advice:

Embrace comfort, it won’t last forever.

Epoxy Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Epoxy Speed Challenge